Top Turkish and Russian diplomats stressed to move forward as soon as possible towards achieving a political settlement in Syria. Meanwhile, Turkish and American defence chiefs have talked about US withdrawal from the war-torn country.
Top diplomats of Turkey and Russia Thursday discussed the latest developments in the Syrian settlement process over the phone, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sergey Lavrov also exchanged views on the efforts they put within the framework of the Astana format, an official website statement read.
"The ministers reaffirmed the mutual commitment and common approaches to the fight against terrorist elements in Syria in order to stabilize the situation in the country as soon as possible and move forward in its political settlement," it said.
Cavusoglu and Lavrov also addressed the upcoming bilateral contacts of the high and highest level.
Last year was marked with the intensified Turkish-Russian contacts. The leaders of the two countries held six bilateral meetings over the year.
2019 took a more intensified pace; President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met two times within two months, and two more meetings are expected to take place in the upcoming months.
Turkish, US defence chiefs discuss Syria on phone
Turkey's defence minister and the acting US defence chief spoke over the phone on Thursday to discuss recent developments in Syria, Turkish Defense Ministry said.
Hulusi Akar and Patrick Shanahan addressed US withdrawal process and proposed safe zone in Syria, the ministry said on Twitter.
Last December, US President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that the US would be withdrawing all of its troops from Syria and said Daesh had been defeated in the country.
Underlining Turkey’s advocacy for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that Turkey cannot leave a region that could pose a threat to it, and Turkey would establish a presence in such a zone.
Erdogan reiterated that the proposed safe zone must be under his country’s control, adding Turkey cannot leave this to Germany, France or the US.
Senior US lawmakers and military officials are asking its European allies to commit hundreds of troops at the proposed safe zone on the Syrian side of that country’s border with Turkey as the bulk of American troops there withdraw. If they agree, President Trump is open to keeping some US troops there to help them.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.